There’s no shortage of online sources for printable 3D content these days, and another good option is Pinshape.
The service has been operating for just over a year now, and unlike many of the numerous other 3D model repositories, is still going strong. Many 3D model ventures have failed due to poor business planning, poor marketing and the sheer size of the competition in this area.
The most notable competition is, of course, MakerBot’s Thingiverse repository, which hold well over 100,000 3D models. However, some controversy has driven some users away from Thingiverse to alternate platforms.
Coincidentally, the height of the Thingiverse controversy is about the same time that Pinshape launched.
Pinshape offers a large number of 3D models for download. Many are freely available, but the service also offers some “premium” 3D models of higher quality for nominal prices.
This model, for example, is a very detailed pen holder, created by designer Bjørn Hensvold. It’s priced at USD$6.49, a reasonable price for such a quality 3D model.
[UPDATE] The designer of this particular model has suddenly marked this item as "free for download". If you like, head over there now!
Pinshape’s free models are often also found on Thingiverse and other sites, but we didn’t notice unprintable 3D models that are all-too-often encountered on Thingiverse. It seems some level of curation has been done on their collection.
We quite like the layout of Pinshape’s pages and controls. It’s very reminiscent of Shapeways - and in fact, designers can hold a portfolio of 3D models in a similar way. The user interface is very easy to use and should encourage people to use the site more than some other services we’ve used.
You won’t find many technical 3D models on Pinshape, but there are plenty of interesting hobby items that are screaming to be made on your 3D printer. Need something to print? Check out Pinshape.